There has been much discussion over the last few years on model forums, and no doubt over a cuppa or three at many a model railway club, about the standard of the current ready to run models.
Bachman first raised the bar approximately 15 years ago with the introduction of their Blue Ribbon range and since then we have all come to expect great detail and accuracy, no longer will the hobby tolerate one model being passed off as another by a simple repaint. Since then all manufacturers have attempted to proved greater detail and accuracy beyond what 20 years ago we could have dreamt of.
There is the often raised issue of greater detail meaning more components to damage during handling, some modellers it would appear want the detail but don’t expect to handle with care…
With this continued increase in quality, accuracy and general level of detail I do accept there have been a number of howlers in the past few years of models that are in fact just plain wrong: such as the over wide or tubby class 47 from Heljan; the front end look of the Class 52 Western evading the ability of a number of manufacturers to get it right; items such as the tender frames and injector pipe work being the wrong way round on Hornby’s otherwise excellent T9 (which I add has since been rectified).
Putting such howlers to one side it is almost as if as overall accuracy increases there is a quest in some quarters to identify the smallest error (often due to manufacturing compromises) and turn it into a major issue. Even worse are the assumptions that one model must be wrong without proper research or evidence to back up such claims.
It does annoy me to see the incorrect reviews in magazines or criticism on forums of models that with a little research or checking could have prevented such confusion, conjecture or even harming a manufacturer’s reputation or even sales.
Recently one of the respected model magazines claimed a certain model only had pick-ups on 4 of the 6 wheels when in fact all wheels had pick-ups, also a statement was made about a particular part of the model being the wrong shape which from the pictures of both the model and also photographs of the engine it was based on and at the time in which it was modelled clearly showed otherwise. Even within their own article later in the same publication there was a photograph printed that clearly contradicted the statement made in the review!
There is often discussions on online forums about the issues surrounding models where posters made assumptions and confident appearing statements that can then be taken as gospel when all along the original poster was wrong not the model manufacturer!
In summery not all manufacturers will get things 100% correct 100% of the time and some compromises will always be needed, and errors do creep in. However it should not also be believed that every review that you read is likewise 100% correct as at the end of the day most model press work from limited budgets and staff numbers whom can not all be experts in every area of the hobby.
I myself always try and do some basic research before deciding if a model is correct or that I am building it right in the first place. I also tend work off the rule that if it looks right to me it is right, and generally apply the 3 foot rule which if looks ok at a normal viewing distance of 3 foot then it will do me…